Making smart healthcare flooring decisions also tends to drive more efficient installations and makes for easier maintenance in the long run. The right flooring can also reduce noise while presenting a clean and healing environment through evidence-based pattern and color choices.
Here are some other things to think about when selecting the best flooring for your healthcare facility.
Hospital Flooring Specifications
You should never choose hospital flooring lightly, as there are many specifications you should look for in the ideal flooring selection. Overall, the flooring you choose has many jobs, including improving safety, reducing stress, facilitating patient satisfaction, and allowing for a solid return on your investment.
Here are the specifications you should make sure your hospital flooring features for optimal results.
The flooring you choose should be stable and textured enough to prevent people from slipping and falling. When navigating changes in flooring, make sure the areas remain smooth without edges or height differences that people can trip over.
The flooring used throughout the hospital environment should be spill-resistant and sealed to prevent germs and microbes from spreading. The flooring should also be easy to clean and maintain.
Patients are trying to sleep and staff like doctors and nurses are trying to concentrate, so your flooring should be able to absorb noise effectively to keep the environment quiet and peaceful.
A Little “Give
While slip-resistant flooring can prevent people from taking a tumble, your flooring should still allow a level of softness for those who do go crashing to the ground. After all, a bit of give can mean the difference between a fall that bruises and one that breaks a leg.
Hospital staff are always rushing about, so your flooring should be cushioned enough to make it easier to walk. This is critical for patients who have trouble walking and to prevent repetitive stress injuries to staff’s feet, ankles, and knees.
The best flooring for hospitals is one that makes staff, patients, families, and other visitors feel welcome. The flooring should, at the same time, induce sensations of calm and reassurance. It should also communicate cleanliness and professionalism. Patients and staff should find the floors pleasing in terms of color, texture, and overall design, and the flooring should reflect and amplify lighting, especially where natural light shines in.
Hospital flooring should be quick to install without obstacles and simple to maintain, allowing you to stay within budget. The flooring also has to last with heavy foot traffic and roller traffic like carts and patient transport.
With all of these factors to consider, you may be wondering which flooring is best for your healthcare or hospital environment? Your choice of flooring will depend on the area in question.
Best Hospital Flooring Options According to the Area of Installation
When discussing hospital flooring, it is best to do so by area. Hospital facilities are immense, so one flooring option is never going to do the entire job. For a place this big, several hospital flooring options will be required. Here are some of the most popular according to their area of installation.
The entrance areas of hospitals must look presentable, as this is the first impression of your facility by patients and their families. The entrance is where patrons locate the services they need and, as such, these areas tend to experience the heaviest amounts of foot traffic. For that reason, it is best to select flooring that is both welcoming and durable while looking fantastic upon first glance.
For this, we recommend luxury vinyl tile or LVT. LVT comes in a variety of eye-catching designs and textures and yet is highly durable. The hospital flooring requires minimal maintenance and lasts for decades.
Flooring for Corridors and Clinical Rooms
You can think of corridors as the arteries of your hospital. These hallways see heavy amounts of foot traffic at nearly all times of the day and night. In addition to doctors, nurses, patients, their families, and other visitors, corridors experience heavy amounts of rolling loads. These include equipment carts, stretchers, wheelchairs, and med carts.
When installing flooring in a hospital corridor, the installation needs to be rapid so that there is minimal disruption to staff and patients. The flooring also needs to be highly durable for foot and rolling traffic. In addition, it is best to choose flooring that includes evidence-based design schemes that promote stress-free environments while also creating clear paths that identify care areas.
For corridors and clinical areas, we recommend either rubber flooring or LVT. Both hospital flooring options are scratch-resistant and come in a variety of patterns, colors, and textures. LVT in particular can be created to look like natural textures, such as stone and wood, only with better durability and a more affordable price than traditional materials.
Best Flooring for Operating Rooms and Emergency Areas
Emergency and operating rooms are required to meet incredibly strict infection control requirements. The flooring must also be resilient enough to withstand heavy foot and roller traffic on a 24/7 basis. The hospital flooring you select should be easy to clean while promoting the utmost levels of cleanliness. We recommend opting for flooring that sports a smooth or low-texture surface and one that is easy to install, as proper installation is key unless you want fluid and dirt slipping underneath.
LVT, sheet vinyl, and linoleum flooring are excellent options for emergency rooms and ORs because they enable the use of heat welding during the installation process, which makes it possible to create a truly aseptic environment. All three of these hospital flooring options are manufactured with special coatings that resist chemical staining from bodily fluids and medical products.
Once installed, you will have a floor that eliminates the need to polish or wax, reducing maintenance disruption and cleaning costs. What’s more, these floors promote better indoor air quality and are known for their low emissions of volatile organic compounds, otherwise referred to as low VOC.
Cafeteria floors should be stain-resistant, slip-retardant, and easy to clean. We recommend going with a patterned and textured floor that can both hide scuffs while reducing slips and falls.
Sheet vinyl, LVT, and tile flooring are ideal for cafeterias. All three of these flooring options offer design versatility with vibrant colors and natural textures while providing long-lasting durability.
Nurse’s Stations & Treatment Area Floors
Nurse’s stations and treatment areas need to be comfortable for staff and patients alike. The flooring used in these rooms and walkways should promote stress reduction, induce comfort, and provide 24/7 access with materials that allow for fast installation while minimizing maintenance.
In the past, these areas would be furnished with traditional linoleum and vinyl composition tile (VCT). However, innovation in hospital flooring have allowed for bio-based tile (BBT) and sheet tile flooring comprised of low VOC materials.
As flooring professionals, we recommend hospital flooring for these areas that come with special coatings so that they will resist scratches while alleviating the need for waxing, buffing, and chemical cleaning.
For faster installation and minimal disruption to these critical care areas, you could always go with free-floating LVT and other floors with adhesive backs, as putting these surfaces down is a breeze for even inexperienced flooring professionals.
Patient Room Flooring
Even though a patient is in the hospital, the patient room should resemble a home-like environment. The flooring used in these areas does not have to be aseptic, so you have more hospital flooring options to choose from like LVT, sheet tile, and linoleum. You can get a variety or textures and colors, like stone, wood, and other natural looks. These flooring selections are highly durable and come at a lower cost than natural materials, and they all install rapidly for minimal disruption to staff and patient routines.
Hospital Bathroom Flooring
There is one additional area of the hospital we have yet to mention, and yet it is one of the most important. Hospital bathrooms not only need to be safe, but they need to look spotless as well. We recommend LVT, sheet vinyl, or linoleum, as these floors are easy to maintain while preventing slips and falls.
Do Healthcare Facilities Still Use Hospital Grade Linoleum Flooring?
With modern breakthroughs in bio-resistant flooring, many healthcare facilities are doing away with the typical linoleum and opting for flooring that is both safe for staff and patients and easy to maintain.
However, commercial grade linoleum is still resilient and safe enough for most hospital settings. The sheet rolls and tiles are still heavily in use today in a wide variety of environments, from offices to medical facilities, and even retail spaces.
The flooring looks great, offers minimal maintenance, and is easy to install, making it ideal for any room or corridor inside the hospital.
Types of Hospital Floors
So far, we have covered the ideal types of flooring that are best for specific environments. It helps to learn more about these flooring options so that you can make the most informed decision regarding your installation needs.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
This resilient hospital flooring selection offers minimal maintenance and is designed to last. LVT is one of the most popular flooring products, as it is easy to install, incredibly durable, waterproof, and is excellent in high traffic areas. There are also nearly unlimited design possibilities, as LVT uses photographic print processes on the tile. That means you could get wood, stone, or any other design you can think of.
This flooring option comes in sheets up to six-feet wide with 2-3 millimeters in thickness. There are minimal seams, allowing for the best aesthetics. The flooring has been a mainstay in hospital rooms, corridors, and other areas for decades. The surface is excellent for repelling germs and microbes and is easy to clean and maintain.
Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT)
Of all the hospital flooring on the list, VCT is usually the most economical. The tiles are manufactured using a mixture of natural limestone, color pigments, fillers, and a thermoplastic binder. The tile is durable but does require a bit more maintenance than other floors, with stripping, waxing, and polishing required for optimal sanitation and cleanliness.
Rubber flooring has been popular in hospital settings for years. The material elevates interiors with seamless installation and versatile design possibilities. The floor is also durable and incredibly strong, making it able to withstand the toughest hospital conditions without sacrificing aesthetics or style.
This flooring option is still used in hospitals, though not as much as in previous years. Like rubber floors, linoleum is considered a “green” product made with linseed oil, cork dust, and jute fiber. The product also has antimicrobial properties to help it stand up to dangerous germs and microbes.
Which Floor is Appropriate for Your Hospital?
Now that you know more about hospital grade flooring, you may still have trouble selecting the best floors for the various areas you have to cover.
Minuteman Floors in Manchester, New Hampshire can help. We have professional flooring for the entrances, clinical rooms, corridors, operating rooms, emergency areas, cafeterias, nurses’ stations, treatment areas, patient rooms and bathrooms.
We have antimicrobial flooring and plenty of options with noise reduction, stress reduction, and various aesthetic properties. Give us a call to get a free estimate and enjoy professional installation without worry by the best